Behind the Scenes of Costuming

Issue 27: April 3, 2024

Happy Wednesday, McMurry! Spring has sprung, so too has our excitement for the end of the semester. There are tons of activities blooming on campus, one of which being McMurry Theatres production of Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors!” Set in 13th century Ephesus, two sets of identical twins separated at birth get into some trouble after they end up in the same city, unaware of each other. As the characters tussle with mistaken identity, confusion, and irony, the lighthearted comedy promises laughter and delight, and with it, more magic lurks behind the curtains.

A diverse collaboration of techies, movers, and builders gather to make a show what it is.  One of those participants is the costume designer. Tasked with creating unique and distinctive looks for characters onstage, the costume designer is very important. I have had the pleasure of costuming for numerous McMurry Theatre productions, and in this article, I will be discussing elements, challenges, and processes I have encountered with my most recent project: Comedy of Errors!

One thing I’ve learned by working on costumes is it is an extremely collaborative job. You communicate with the director, the set designer, the light designer, and the cast to create a set of costumes that truly encapsulate and enhance the elements of a show. In order to present a united vision, it is crucial to know how to communicate with other people! Asking questions can be scary, but there hasn’t been a single time I’ve costumed a show without asking a ton of questions or needing the opinion/vision of a fellow producer. Learning how to communicate kindly and effectively is a critical aspect of costume design, and for life in general!

From an inventive perspective, being a costume designer has allowed me to explore tons of creative avenues. With “Comedy of Errors” specifically, I am getting to experiment a lot with color, and that has been so fun! For example, I have chosen base colors like terracotta orange and teal blue to establish the Mediterranean and costal atmosphere of the shows setting. Color also plays a crucial role in the distinction of characters. With two sets of twins in the show, I needed to find a way to make them look identical, but also establish their contrasting personalities. So, I decided to have each set of brothers have structurally the same costume, but their color schemes be completely unique to their characters! Antipholus of Ephesus’ costume features lots of oranges and reds to present his power and authority. While his brother, Antipholus of Syracuse, is dressed in blues and greens signifying his romantic “go-with-the-flow” kind of attitude.

I have been provided with so many incredible opportunities with McMurry Theatre. My ideas are always welcomed and encouraged by our director Neena McLain, and I’m learning to love and explore different elements of theatre. Im grateful for every opportunity thus far and I look forward to future projects!

Get your tickets now and come see Comedy of Errors next week the 11th through the 13th at 7:30 p.m., and the 14th at 2:00 p.m.!